Interview with SoapBox Soaps CMO Billy Collins on the Mobile First Podcast
- Podcast /
- Product Leadership /
As SoapBox is more than just a personal care product, they are running HopeCode, a way to show consumers exactly how their purchases are helping others (Ep. 32)
Billy Collins jumped at the opportunity to join the SoapBox team to continue building on all of their success. The brand mission, high quality products, startup culture and impressive team made it exciting for him to join SoapBox on their journey to create a movement behind the SoapBox brand. Here, he leads the marketing team, working to raise awareness of their high quality natural product line that makes an impact in our world with every purchase.
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Here are the highlights of our conversation with our guest:
Billy is most passionate about having the ability to meet someone and solve their problem, and amazed at how powerful changing someone can be. He is fascinated by humans and helping them benefit from changing their habits to a more effective one will ultimately grow the business.
He didn’t know much about the business world before and he didn’t want to do investing or consulting so he took a job in HR because he liked people. He thought of communicating, interacting, motivating, and leadership combined with understanding on how to make an investment profitable is what fueled his passion for what he does.
Johnson and Johnson was a good environment for Billy as they have a culture of collaboration, respect of opinions and thinking out loud. It was also a healthcare company where you can help other people’s lives and has a credo about making decisions prioritizing customer welfare – all these made J&J very appealing to Billy hence his transition.
As an associate brand manager, he did a lot of execution and worked in the beauty industry. It built his foundation of knowledge on how things worked. His next role was being a Global Marketing Manager where he broadened his sights to a larger audience. What caused him to move to SoapBox was hearing insights from Gary Vaynerchuk which made him ponder on the next steps in his career. To be able to take his training and experience from J&J and the impact that he can make to people in joining SoapBox made it a pretty easy decision to move.
SoapBox Story: In 2010 founder David Simnick set out to make the best soap in every way when he was inspired to start SoapBox after joining a USAID contractor post college. There he realized that hygiene aid wasn’t being implemented to its fullest potential and wasn’t being paired with an essential item – soap. Dave made the first batch of soap in his college apartment kitchen while still at American University. Six years later our products are available in Wal-Mart, Target and many other retailers across the nation. Even more impressive SoapBox has donated over one million bars in the US & abroad to those who otherwise would go without access to this basic need.
Billy is working on rebranding their new packaging as it wasn’t as effective the efficacy of the product. They are now working with a design agency and being very thoughtful about the process. Their packaging should reflect the effectivity of their product. The second piece that he is working on is marketing their product online more effectively. They are looking at an approach where they will create a lot of different content and this needs to be served to the right audience.
As SoapBox is more than just a personal care product, Billy shares that they are running HopeCode, a way to show consumers exactly how their purchases are helping others. The goal is to provide authenticity and transparency of their aid mission to their consumers.
Rapid Fire Questions
- What is your definition of innovation?
Innovation is a meaningfully new product solution.
- Would you put more emphasis on the idea or the execution? How would you weigh each of them and why?
50 / 50 as nothing are successful without both of these. If you have a great idea but you do not know how to tell someone about it, it’s not going to work. You can execute a piece of crap and it will be a piece of crap and people will not stay with it.
- What is your biggest learning lesson on your journey so far?
That I still have a lot to learn. The moment you stop trying to figure out how people’s behaviors are changing, you become ineffective.
- What is your favorite business book?
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Give and Take by Adam Grant
- What is your favorite digital resource?
Harvard Business Review
- What is your favorite app and why?
The New York Times Crossword